Chapter 1576: Encounter

As Han Li was intentionally trying to skirt around the nearby cities, he was choosing to fly over extremely barren and desolate areas, and during the first few days of his journey, he encountered no difficulties whatsoever.

He only saw the occasional cultivator hurriedly passing through the area from afar, heading toward the few nearby cities.

Han Li could only shake his head with a forlorn look upon seeing this, but made no effort to warn them against traveling to their destinations.

All of these people had extremely low cultivation bases around the Foundation Establishment Stage and Core Formation Stage. In the face of the sudden attack that the Jiao Chi Race had launched against the area, they naturally pinned their hopes on traveling to cities in order to escape the area using their teleportation formations or to seek protection from the high-grade beings in those cities.

After flying on his own for over 10 days, Han Li finally encountered a group of armored Jiao Chi Race warriors.

There weren't all that many of them; only around a dozen or so, but each of them was riding a snowy white twin-headed falcon steed.

The most powerful being among them was a Nascent Soul cultivator, while the others all possessed Core Formation Stage cultivation bases.

Han Li's heart immediately sank upon seeing these armored warriors. If he recalled correctly, there were no cities nearby, so why had these Jiao Chi beings appeared in such a secluded place?

Han Li was quite bewildered by this development, but he wasn't very alarmed as these beings were nowhere near powerful enough to pose a threat to him anyway.

However, even though he was capable of killing these armored warriors with ease, he concealed himself instead and only revealed himself again after they'd departed.

He looked on at the group of armored warriors in the distance with a dark expression on his face before continuing on his way.

However, after encountering the first group of Jiao Chi Race armored warriors, he went on to encounter a second group, a third group, a fourth group...

The regularity at which Han Li was encountering these groups was gradually on the rise.

Their vast cultivation base disparities ensured that Han Li could conceal himself from them with ease, but he was still struck by a sense of foreboding.

Could it be that this entire area was under the control of the Jiao Chi Race?

Just as Han Li was starting to become alerted to his situation, the Jiao Chi Race conquered a city that was several times larger than Green Light City. Within the city, there were three high-grade Jiao Chi beings situated within a palace, conversing with one another about this matter.

A red-haired woman and a thin and shriveled elderly man stood on either side of a golden chair in the hall, while a young woman who appeared to be in her twenties sat on the chair.

The woman had a set of beautiful facial features, but there was a faint metallic silver hue to her skin. On top of that, she had a pair of purplish-golden eyes, and if one were to look into those eyes, they'd be struck by a piercing pain in their own eyes.

The woman had a small horn that was several inches long growing from her glabella, and it was glittering and translucent like an intricate artistic masterpiece.

Both the elderly man and the red-haired woman were Spatial Tempering Stage beings, yet they were appraising the young woman with extremely respectful expressions on their faces.

"Has there still been no sign of him?" the young woman suddenly asked. Her voice was quite pleasing to the ear, but her expression was quite cold.

"I'm afraid not, Lady Yin; our scouts have yet to return with any useful information. Perhaps he found an obscure location to hide in? In that case, it would be quite difficult to find him," the elderly man replied in a respectful manner.

"It's very unlikely that he's hidden himself somewhere. He already knows that we're attacking this area, so he must be well aware of the fact that if we were to seize complete control over this area, he'll be dead no matter how powerful he is. I also didn't think that we'd encounter such a big fish so early on in our campaign. If we could capture that man alive, it would be quite the accolade," the woman said with furrowed brows.

"We're aware of just how important that man is to the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races, so we definitely won't allow him to escape from this place. We've already sent out a large number of scouts to scour through this entire area, as well as two groups of powerful beings that are constantly at the ready. As soon as we receive news of his location, those two groups will teleport over right away. Teleportation of that kind is restricted to within a certain distance and will require a huge price to be paid, but I'm sure it'll be worth it to capture that man," the red-haired woman chimed in in a respectful manner.

"Alright, I'll leave it to you two then. By the way, wasn't Envoy Tu requesting our assistance to capture someone a few days ago?" the woman suddenly asked.

"Yes, Master Tu and the others did indeed distribute a portrait to all of the nearby cities, asking them to keep an eye out for a certain man. Apparently, they're searching for an upper race seventh-tier being who's carrying something important in the context of the mission," the elderly man replied after a brief hesitation.

"Hmph, they really are useless. Even with such a huge cultivation base advantage, they still let a mere upper race being get away. If it weren't for the fact that it was already a part of the plan to put this area into complete lockdown, we wouldn't even pay any heed to such a ridiculous request," the woman scoffed as a derisive look flashed through her eyes.

Neither the elderly man nor the red-haired woman dared to say anything in response.

"Speaking on this matter, though, I'm rather curious about just what the elders sent those out to obtain; they even asked me to loan them one of only two fortress level battle arks in my possession. As a result of that setback, we had to change our plans, and we still haven't taken over this area, even now," the young woman chuckled coldly, seemingly very displeased with the current arrangement.

"Lady Yin, the panel of elders ordered us to loan them the battle ark, so we can't go against those orders. Seeing as the panel of elders is holding the mission in such high regard, it's safe to assume that the items they've been deployed to secure must be extremely important for our race. Thankfully, the elders deployed a new group of battle puppets to us, and those will be enough for us to completely control this area. At present, there are only two cities left in this area that haven't been conquered by our forces," the red-haired woman replied in a cautious manner.

"Those puppets are relatively useful in large-scale battles, but they're useless for patrol and tracking purposes. Most of our forces have been deployed to lock down this area, and the remaining two cities both have powerful defenses, so we still haven't been able to conquer them. It looks like we can't afford to keep stalling like this. We have to wrest complete control over this area before the rest of our army arrives. I have no choice but to make a trip in person. Otherwise, I won't be able to answer to the panel of elders," the woman mused as a cold light flashed through her eyes.

The elderly man faltered slightly upon hearing this before a fawning smile appeared on his face. "If Lady Yin gets involved, then we'd be able to conquer the remaining two cities with ease!"

"Then it's decided! Once everything has been taken care of here, we'll set off on the battle ark tomorrow," the young woman instructed.

"Yes!"

The red-haired woman and the elderly man hurriedly bowed in unison.

Half a month later, Han Li was situated under a certain lush tree at the foot of a small mountain. He wore a thin black veil that completely concealed his aura, yet he wore a grim expression as he looked up into the sky.

Not far above him, there were two identical silver islands hovering in mid-air.

These two silver islands were extremely similar in appearance to the one that had appeared over Green Light City, except it was only several thousand feet in size. Even so, the two smaller battle arks were still surrounded by a vast horde of silver-armored warriors and twin-headed giant falcons.

The Jiao Chi Race had deployed such heavy forces only to bring down a foreign being whom they'd already surrounded.

This was a man who appeared to be in his fifties or sixties, with greyish-white hair and a set of peculiar facial features. He had his hands clasped behind his back and was standing atop a flying ark in a stationary manner.

There was also a beastly puppet on either side of him. One of them possessed the body of a horse yet the head of a wyrm, and it was several tens of feet in size, radiating shimmering azure light.

The other puppet was a strange lion with seven heads, one of which was larger than the other six. It had an extremely fierce appearance and was over 200 feet in size.

Even at first glance, one could tell that these two puppets were quite powerful.

The wariness being exercised by the nearby Jiao Chi beings also seemed to further vindicate this notion.

Han Li looked on with intrigue at the confrontation that ensued.

Back when he had first discovered so many Jiao Chi beings and the pair of battle arks in this place, he had been given quite a fright.

However, he then immediately discovered that there were no beings of the Spatial Tempering Stage or above among the Jiao Chi beings, and they'd all surrounded a foreign being. Thus, his curiosity had been piqued, and he snuck over to a nearby area to survey the situation.

Han Li was able to immediately identify the foreign being's cultivation base; he was only Deity Transformation Stage being.

However, the auras being emitted by the two puppets on either side of him indicated that they were equivalent in power to Spatial Tempering Stage beings. Furthermore, one of them was at the mid-Spatial Tempering Stage, while the other was at the late-Spatial Tempering Stage.

The might of the two puppets was naturally quite astonishing to Han Li. However, what was even more confusing to him was why this foreign being didn't simply deploy his powerful puppets to kill these Jiao Chi beings and giant falcons. Why were they seemingly caught in a stalemate instead?

There was indeed a large number of those giant falcons and armored warriors, but the most powerful beings among them were only a few Deity Transformation Stage leaders.

The only potential cause for concern was the two silver battle arks as it was unknown what abilities they possessed.

Just as these thoughts were running through Han Li's mind, the surrounded foreign being up above glanced at the Jiao Chi beings around him before suddenly making a hand seal, and the two puppets finally sprang into action.

The wyrm-headed horse puppet abruptly spread open its wings, and they transformed into a pair of massive blades that shot forth through the air amid a flash of azure light.

In the next instant, the azure light swept into the surrounding area, and a dozen or so giant falcons and armored warriors were instantly sliced in half.

Meanwhile, the lion puppet opened all seven of its mouths at once, and countless fireballs erupted from within, forming a sea of flames in the blink of an eye that inundated all of the enemies in another direction.

The surrounding armored warriors were initially quite alarmed by this sudden development, but under the commands of the Deity Transformation Stage leaders, all of them raised their blades and unleashed countless attacks toward the two puppets.

At the same time, all of the giant falcons rose up into the air before pouncing toward the puppets. 

All of a sudden, explosive booms and sharp screeches rang out incessantly as an intense battle ensued!

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